Monday, May 13, 2019

Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society Organizes Cemetery Restoration Project

Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society Organizes Cemetery Restoration Project

For generations, the Vineland Training School served as home for young people who did not quite fit into the outside world, according to the standards of the day. The school served as their world, where they lived and ultimately died, their remains buried in a small cemetery located on the grounds that was later abandoned to the elements.


On May 14, the Vineland Historical and Antiquarian Society, working in cooperation with Elwyn, Inc., the current owners of the property, will begin supervising a restoration project of the abandoned cemetery. Approximately 92 former residents of the Training School, who lived there between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, are buried at the site.

We can’t thank Richard Berry, the site’s executive director, and his staff enough for giving us this opportunity,” said Patricia A. Martinelli, Society curator. “The Training School played a significant role in the development of the field of mental studies and has been a Vineland landmark for more than 100 years.”

Society members and any interested volunteers will work on-site all day between May 14 and 17. After that, work crews will be scheduled every Tuesday until the project is completed.

Martinelli hopes to thoroughly clean the grounds and then document each of the grave sites, including that of Carol Buck, the daughter of noted American author Pearl S. Buck.

“Unfortunately, Carol Buck does not have a stone at her grave site,” Martinelli said. “We have contacted the Pearl S. Buck Foundation to see if they might want to pay for a marker but, if they don’t, the Society is prepared to move ahead with purchasing one.”


The project was conceived after Martinelli and a former VHAS board member, John W. Carr, visited the grounds to take photographs of the buildings. It is very likely that many of the historic structures will be torn down and the Society wanted to document them for posterity.

When they discovered the cemetery, Martinelli and Carr agreed that it deserved to be preserved. Interestingly enough, at that same time, Berry and his staff were discussing their options as to how to clean up the site.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering for the project is welcome to help but there are certain requirements: All volunteers must be at least sixteen years old and sign an application form that outlines their responsibilities. Minors under eighteen will be required to provide the signature of a parent or guardian.

For further information, call the Society at 856-691-1111 or e-mail vinelandhistory@gmail.com. Further updates will be reported on the Society’s Facebook page and web site.


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